Monday, August 18, 2008

Pulmonary Hypertension ~ Update !

Shortness of Breath...Not Much Fun !
By : Don Jones...8/18/08

I have been an official Pulmonary Hypertension patient now, since July 7, 2008...As I `ve said before, shortness of breath is not much fun. It took Vanderbilt almost two years to diagnose me. It is not that they were not trying, but, pulmonary hypertension is most difficult to diagnose. I have met another PH patient right here in my hometown. He is a pastor at one of our local church`s. He is just 41 year`s old. We have compared notes already. I have joined a group on-line, "Pulmonary Hypertension Association"! Click on the title of this article, it carry you there ! The medical profession does not know a lot about this disease. Dr. Mark Wigger, Heart-Transplant Director, at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, prescribed a drug for my disease called Nitro-Biden, it is a paste that I had to apply to my body one inch every 8 hours. The first couple of days, I thought it might be working, but, alas, it did not. Dr. Wigger has now prescribed a drug called Revatio. Now, Revatio is a derivative of Viagra. Please, no jokes. He started me out on one 20mg. tab. three times a day. He has now put me on 40mg. three times a day ! I`m not positive, but, I believe it might be helping. A few words about Revatio, It is manufactured by the Pfizer pharmaceutical company. Each tablet is a cost of $10.00 ! So, $60.00 per day alone just for one medication. A 30 day supply = $1,800.00 ! Lets just say, that without insurance, I could not pay for this drug. I ordered a book off of the PH web-site > <. I have learned that a particular drug may work for a patient, and not for another patient. I have also learned that more women than men get this disease. I am checked monthly for my oxygen levels in my blood, Dr. Slovis my pulmonary Dr. at Vandy, says that if it is more than 50, I am to have a phlebotomy. You ask, what is a phlebotomy ? It is, as in middle ages, you are bled. They draw off a pint of blood monthly. I am learning as I go forward with this disease called "Pulmonary Hypertension"! PH is now referred to as the other high blood pressure, in my terms, it is simply high blood pressure in/of the lungs ! Not too pleasant. With the minimum amount of exertion, I get short of breath. As long, as I`m in-active, I seem perfectly normal. I am not. I am just beginning this trip with PH, as I learn, I will share it with you.

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